Churches form ‘circle of protection’ around poor

Nicole Neroulias |

(RNS) Catholic, evangelical, mainline Protestant, black and Latino Christian leaders have formed a “Circle of Protection” against U.S. cuts to poverty-fighting programs, gearing up for a high-stakes budget battle when Congress reconvenes next week. While recognizing the need for “fiscal responsibility and shared sacrifice,” the 50 leaders argue that Christian values require them “to resist […]

Gingrich talks of journey to Catholicism

Daniel Burke |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Tilting toward a run at the presidency, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich traced his spiritual journey from Southern Baptist to Roman Catholic at a Catholic prayer breakfast here on Wednesday (April 27). “People ask me when I decided to become Catholic,” said Gingrich, who formally converted in 2009. “It would be more accurate […]

Plans for interfaith seminary shelved

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) When leaders of the nation’s oldest seminary and a Unitarian Universalist theological school began to dream of building a new partnership, they planned to create a futuristic model of religious higher education. But after more than a year of discussions, Andover Newton Theological School outside Boston and Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago have […]

Methodists give $50,000 for massacre memorial

Chris Herlinger |

NEW YORK (RNS/ENInews) The United Methodist Church is making good on a pledge to support a learning center at the Western site of an 1864 massacre of Native Americans led by a Methodist minister. The UMC’s General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns announced a $50,000 donation to the National Park Service for developing […]

Toxic Chinese drywall taxes Katrina relief groups

Bruce Nolan |

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Relief organizations whose volunteers built or repaired hundreds of damaged houses after Hurricane Katrina have found they installed toxic Chinese drywall in more than 200 buildings, requiring hundreds of low-income families to move out for months while the houses are gutted anew and rebuilt. For many families, it’s a return to stress, […]

Myth, martyrdom and the American Civil War

John Farmer Jr. |

(RNS) “Are you a Yankee or a rebel?” That question, asked of me at recess by a ring of third- and fourth-grade boys on my first day of school in Fairfax, Va., was my introduction to the Civil War’s lasting imprint on modern America. “I’m from New Jersey,” I said, to many puzzled looks. “Well, […]

Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup

Evangelist Franklin Graham is backtracking on his Obama-birther nonsense, saying “I’ve never made this an issue, never have.” Until he did. The White House, meanwhile, released Obama’s “long form” Hawaiian birth certificate (left). Former Speaker Newt Gingrich headlined this morning’s National Catholic Prayer Breakfast (look for Dan Burke’s report later today), and explains his conversion […]

Using our gadgets against us

Tom Ehrich |

(RNS) So now we know that, behind the scenes and buried deep, clever technology is tracking our lives through the mobile devices we gush over and computers we depend on. Firms that we want to trust are tracking who we are, what we buy, what we search for, and where we go. They sell that […]

Former N.J. governor denied Episcopal ordination

Peggy McGlone |

NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) Former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey-who famously announced he was “a gay American” when he resigned in 2004-will not be ordained into the Episcopal Church priesthood in the near future. McGreevey has completed a master of divinity degree and worked with prison inmates and drug-addicted teens, but was denied in his first […]

John Paul’s blood to be split between Italy, Poland

Francis X. Rocca |

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A small quantity of blood from the late Pope John Paul II will be exposed as a holy relic during his beatification on Sunday (May 1), the Vatican has announced. The blood was taken during a medical test shortly before John Paul’s death in April 2005, and later divided into four containers, […]